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Why are solar panels becoming essential for homes in California?
December 9, 2021 at 7:00 AM
Why are solar panels becoming essential for homes in California?

With help from the California Energy Commission, the entire state of California is headed toward using solar panels. At Solar Switch, we understand that there are some residents who are excited about the new requirements as it makes for many more homes and buildings that will be drawn from clean energy sources. In contrast, other residents are concerned that the cost of adding solar panels to homes in California will be cost-prohibitive. We’re here to help make sense of the latest mandates with information regarding previous building standard mandates as well as what you can expect going forward.

Most recent mandate

As of September 2021, the California Energy Commission voted to require all new construction homes to include solar panel installation. Detractors to the mandate are concerned that the additional cost of solar panels will drive up the cost of building a new home, which will contribute to the problem much of California already has with the cost of housing. However, it’s well understood that the average cost of installing solar panels on most new builds would be around $10,000. The cost of solar panels on homes could be offset over the years with the money saved on energy bills. The mandate is set to go into effect in January 2023.

Previous mandates

Prior to the latest mandate, the California Building Standards Commission approved a mandate that required all multi-family residences and single-family homes of three stories or more to include solar panels. According to the California Energy Commission, “Homes and businesses use nearly 70% of California’s electricity and are responsible for a quarter of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.” The solar panel mandates are designed to mitigate those numbers and improve the consumption of green energy. The mandate was implemented in January 2020 and has been carried out throughout the state.

What you need to do

As of today, you don’t need to do anything to prepare for either mandate. If you’re planning to build a new house in the next year or two, you should plan on the extra costs that are going to come with the new house. If your new home is built in 2023, you’ll be required to have solar panels installed at the time the house is built.

For those who own and operate investment properties like rental homes or apartment buildings, it’s likely that you’ve already had to work with solar panel installation contractors in the last year-plus, as your properties have been subject to the mandate for nearly two years now. If you’re planning on expanding your portfolio with new builds or even building yourself a new home, remember to account for solar panels in the cost.

What you should be prepared for

One measure of the most recent mandate that was turned down included homes that had recently been renovated. The next step in building standards would likely include renovations, which means that if you perform a renovation on your home, you’ll need to include solar panels as part of your upgrade.

How you can save money on solar panels

Keep in mind that while the upfront costs of installing solar panels can feel cost-prohibitive, there are tax credits, incentives, and rebates available that are meant to make it more affordable. Speak with a solar contractor today to learn more about how you can make your solar panel installation more affordable.

Schedule a consultation for more

Don’t put off learning more about the current and upcoming building standards regarding solar panels for homes in California. Our team at Solar Switch can help you understand where you fit in with these new standards and how you can prepare for the future. Give us a call at 831-236-6877 or send a message using our online contact form.